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Ontario has a new agriculture minister

NFU congratulates new minister and also sees it as a good opportunity to brief the minister on critical issues family farms face today


Guelph, Ont. – The National Farmers Union (NFU) has congratulated Ted McMeekin on his new appointment as Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

McMeekin is the MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale.

Alvaro Venturelli, NFU regional council member and a Flamborough area farmer, says McMeekin has always been a strong supporter of family farms.

“I applaud Mr. McMeekin for his efforts to encourage our local community to support local farmers by buying local,” says Venturelli.

According to Joe Dama, NFU’s Ontario coordinator, the NFU is concerned about the lack of rural representation within the new Ontario government and within cabinet.

“As farmers, we need the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to be a strong voice for family farms and rural communities at the cabinet table,” says Dama. “We look forward to meeting the new minister to discuss the issues that are important to the survival of family farms in Ontario.”

Big issues

The NFU Ontario Regional Council, NFU locals, and members will all begin immediately to let Hon. Ted McMeekin know about the many issues and concerns facing family farms in Ontario, and what the Government of Ontario needs to do to advance the concerns of farmers.

Among the issues, the NFU will be raising with the new minister are:

• the importance of small abattoirs to support farmers and the local food movement;
• the need to have independent farmers accompany OSPCA inspectors investigating complaints on farms; and
• the potential implications of the Comprehensive Economic Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated between Canada and the European Union, on local food purchasing policies in schools, hospitals, universities and municipalities.

In addition, the NFU says they will bring the  Melancthon mega-quarry proposal to the attention of the Minister, raising also farmers’ concerns about the Provincial Policy Statement and the priority it gives to quarries over farmland.